I was walking the other night and fell in love with shadows. The play of shadows on the street, in the lamplight. Thinking, as I walked, what it might look like in a photo, I framed a scene here and there. I abstracted part of reality and placed it inside a box, a rectangle, removing it from its natural place in the scheme of things.
This was wrong, in a nagging, somewhat ambiguous way, and it was perfectly, naturally right all the same. Wrong because it meant I was isolating things and removing them from their relationships to one another, discriminating, splitting up what is whole. Right because this is quite nearly the only way to make art . . .
Though my Zen studies have been put on hold for the last few months, I still think about what I’ve learned so far and what I need to learn, and this followed me as I walked and wondered:
— making art without severance, without ripping things out of their relationships, is still a foreign country I want to visit and absorb. Is it even possible? Is it even desirable?
Form and Field. Figure and Ground. Not to mention function and emptiness. All of these things whirling through the night air, like bats. Not the popular kind, not the kind with sparkles . . . .
Perhaps Gestalt is a fruitful mid-step between now and the Zennish future. It speaks of the whole and the parts of the whole and seems not to miss the forest for the trees. Perhaps a direction for research? Were there any great artists who delved into Gestalt Therapy? Any who were healed?
Oh, hell, the walking itself was good — enough!